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Renewable energy jobs nearly doubled in the past decade, a new report shows

Renewable energy employment reached 13.7 million in 2022 up from a total of 7.3 million in 2012

Renewable energy jobs nearly doubled in the past decade, a new report shows
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]
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Renewable energy has become a global priority in the past decade. In the early 2000s, only a few companies outside Europe and North America had renewable energy targets. 

Today, most countries have committed to net zero targets, investing heavily in new technologies and consuming renewable energy more than ever.

A new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) finds that renewable energy jobs reached 13.7 million in 2022, up from 7.3 million in 2012. 

However, most of these jobs are concentrated in a few countries, with China accounting for 41% of the global total and Brazil, EU countries, India, and the US.

Solar PV is the largest employer in the renewable energy sector, with 4.9 million jobs in 2022. Hydropower and biofuels had around 2.5 million jobs, followed by wind power with 1.4 million jobs.

“Creating millions of jobs will require a much faster pace of investments in energy transition technologies,” said Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General.

Decentralized renewable energy solutions provide reliable power and employment opportunities, especially in remote areas. 

The report explains how small-scale hydropower plants, for example, require 17,000 to over 160,000 person-days to build, creating various skilled jobs that boost local economies and reduce poverty.

“The demand for skilled workers creates many opportunities for a varied set of skills, allowing for local skill building and fostering enterprise development,” the report says.

Renewable energy jobs still need to be evenly distributed between men and women. Solar technology has the best gender balance, with 40% of jobs held by women.

The report was published just weeks before the COP28 summit in Dubai. COP28 President-elect Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said the conference’s primary goal is to hold the world to its commitment to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as agreed under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

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